Crucial Communication: Communication Styles

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash


You might not give a lot of thought to your communication style, but we all have one…or a combination of the five most common types. Not every communication style is perfect, but you can always work on how you speak and how you convey information in a way that will be effective. 


A person who is a “passive” communicator is often the type who may say, “Sounds good to me” even if they are unsatisfied. Passive communicators act with indifference and allow others to call the shots, they do not always express their feelings, and need others to express their thoughts and emotions clearly. However, passive communicators are seen as agreeable people with whom you can easily get along. 


When you hear the word “aggressive,” you probably think of a vicious dog or an angry lion. Something that is quick to attack and quick to anger. Aggressive communication styles might not be outwardly dangerous, but are definitely one of the most recognizable communication styles. Aggressive communicators speak in loud, demanding voices and are prone to blaming and intimidating others, maintaining direct, unwavering eye contact, dominating conversations, and may even fail to listen to others when conversing. However, some consider aggressive communicators to be great leaders and often, they may command respect from those around them. 


Passive-aggressive communication is exactly what it sounds like…having elements of passive and aggressive communication. The passive communication comes from feelings of impotence, meaning a lack of control in any situation. However, this builds tension inside the communicator, who will eventually lash out in an aggressive manner. For example, take a couple who have to make a decision of where they should go. One person may say, “Go wherever you want, I don’t care,” in a resentful, disappointed tone, which is an example of passive-aggressive communication. 


Manipulative communication is marked by uses of cunning, deceit, and influence to control their situation, as well as those around them. When most people think of manipulation, there are often two connotations: one that involves emotional abuse and lying, and the other that involves being clever and crafty. Manipulative communication involves both, but it is still not the most effective communication style. Here, manipulative communicators often know their goals, but are not the best at getting to that goal. Sometimes, manipulative communication may come in handy, such as when calming down a rude and irate customer. But it can cause serious conflict within teams, who do not appreciate condescension or lies. 


Assertive communication is considered to be the most effective and efficient form of communication. That is entirely because it is a form of communication wherein a person can express their own feelings and thoughts, while also being respectful and diplomatic with others. Assertive communicators know their goals and also know the right way to go about accomplishing them. Assertive communicators are also very good at compromising and finding solutions that satisfy everyone. 

Becoming a more assertive communicator comes with practice and self-reflection…which starts with recognizing the style of communication you’re prone to using and seeing where you can introduce more assertive traits. This includes using “I” statements (taking ownership of what you say, such as “I disagree” rather than “you’re wrong”), maintaining eye contact, defending your boundaries and feeling comfortable saying “no” when you become overwhelmed, and feeling comfortable in your own perspectives, thoughts, and feelings. 


5 Types of Communication Styles: How to Improve Yours

4 Types of Communication Styles